CHUCKEY, TN- The sound of golf balls being crushed off the tee box echoed at Grayburg Hills Golf Course Thursday morning, as the 16th annual Laughlin Memorial Hospital Tennessee Long Drive Shoot-out began its first day of competition.
The group featured some of the best long drivers in the world, including Greeneville native and reigning Shoot-Out winner Jeremy Easterly.
Easterly, who grew up about 15 minutes from the course, is hoping to retain his title this week. He survived the final cut Thursday morning with a 370 yard drive down the fairway in the final morning round.
Easterly finished 2nd overall at the Callaway World Long Drive Championships last year, the sport’s biggest stage. That finish automatically qualified him for the 2016 Championship. But Easterly hopes to come away with his hometown title once again, a win which meant the world to him a year ago.
“Coming back here in my hometown in front of a lot of people that I know and then actually coming out and winning the tournament, it left me speechless,” Easterly said. This is good practice. I mean, it gets you ready for Worlds. Probably at least half, if not three quarters of this field will be at Worlds. It gets you ready for that one time whenever you’re on the stage that you need to do what you need to do.”